Today is Chris Van Allsburg's birthday.
Chris Van Allsburg always wanted to be an artist. Though not encouraged as a youth, he developed his talents as both an illustrator and an author. His picture books offer stories of adventure, often with unexpected points of view, and illustrations that captivate both child and adult readers.
Point of view is a common theme in Van Allsburg's writing. Invite your students to explore varying points of view by rewriting a traditional story.
- First, brainstorm with students a list of well-known stories or fairy tales, such as The Gingerbread Man, Cinderella, or The Three Little Pigs.
- Share some books that are written from an alternate point of view, such as Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
- Next, invite students to select and rewrite a story. For example, they could write a Cinderella story from the stepsisters' point of view, or use the interactive Fractured Fairy Tales tool to rewrite one of three given fairy tales.
- Finally, have students illustrate and share their stories. Alternatively, students can share their stories as a puppet show or a reader's theater performance.
See the Fractured Fairy Tales page for more information about this tool along with additional activity ideas.
Van Allsburg's official site provides links to the author's biography, information about his books, interactive activities, and more.
Watch an online interview with Van Allsburg to hear about his big breakthrough, his books, and their transformation into movies.
This Scholastic resource on Van Allsburg includes links to a transcript of the moderated chat, a biography, and an annotated booklist.